June 23, 2013

Mount Vernon Trail

Washington DC is one of my favorite cities, and happily it is far more cycling friendly than when I last (long ago) lived nearby. Riding now feels practical and enjoyable, and the city boasts an active cycling community. chasing mailboxes d.c., the creator and sponsor of last autumn's coffeeneuring challenge, is based in the metropolitan area; her posts have given me some sense of the urban cycling scene. It is enough to make me miss major metropolitan areas.



In town visiting family, the weather was perfect, with a free weekday morning, my bike in the car, and me lucky to be able to take advantage of the Mount Vernon Trail, which I had previously learned of from There and Back Again, a dedicated cyclist and blogger in the DC area. The trail is pretty, close to the river along most of its route, passing through wetlands, and giving the rider a chance to visit Old Town, Alexandria.



Arriving about 9:00, the parking lot at George Washington's home Mount Vernon was nearly empty, at least where the trail begins. That is always a good sign on mixed-use pathways.




The route was never crowded, but well-used. It is probably a mob scene on pretty weekends. It seems to me that this kind of route really should belong to children, seniors, ...well, I can't define it that way. I think these trails belong to almost everyone except fast roadies behaving as if they are training or racing. So even I, a roadie not so very fast, tone it down, encourage the little kids new to bikes, and ride prepared to stop. It does annoy me though, at every stop sign, to be told to dismount my bike. Of course, like every other rider, I didn't.

Slow is also a good strategy for rubber-necking at the world around me, and taking photos. There were birds:



And boats:



And planes, as the route passes by National Airport:



Once close to the city there are good views of some of the monuments:



The route links to other local trails, and though I didn't ride any I continued across and back Key Bridge, which crosses the river to Georgetown.



On the bridge I found a lone padlock, bravely making the beginning of a lock bridge. I learned about them, and the only other I have seen, is in Paris, another beautiful city on a river. The architect who made the city plan for Washington was French, and it shows. Wonder what this bridge will look like in a few years.




The path is paved, with sections of well-maintained boardwalk through wetlands and over streams, and is 18 miles long to Roosevelt Island. It twists and turns a bit, and has a few small hills. I had hoped with my detours for 40 miles, but only reached 38+. Oh well. You will see in this photo that the Washington Monument is still wrapped in scaffolding, as it is being repaired after earthquake damage. It reminds me of something Christo might have created.



By, the way, this blog is now linked to a Face Book page, which is not the same as a Face Book person, and I owe multiple huge thanks to X and P for figuring that out for me. For months people have been telling me "Oh, just do this" or "Oh, just do that." Pages are confusing, and I am very grateful to them for sorting it out for me! I never would have managed without them.






10 comments:

  1. It's good to see the city where I grew up. I miss it! Nice pics.

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    1. I grew up there too, and wish now I'd lived in the city as an adult ... it's fun to visit, in any case.

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  2. Love it. I'm not the fastest roadie either, but I would have trouble riding easy on that trail.

    How do I access this new Facebook page?

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    1. There seems to be quite the trail network there, including a 45-mile (one way) route in Northern VA. Guess that is next visit, and 90 miles will require higher speeds for sure.

      The only thing appearing on the Facebook page is these posts, at least for now. I suppose if anyone wants to go there it would be by searching Suze Cycling in facebook. I seriously don't "get" it...and made it for convoluted reasons not easily explained here....

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  3. Nice ride. Yet another city I need to visit by bike.

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    1. Bet that is a long list of cities ... should DC ever make it to the top, let me know.

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  4. You certainly seem to have made the most of your day! I'm glad my parking tip paid off. I'm always nervous that I will lead someone astray with advice like this and ruin their day. You are absolutely right about the trail on weekends, as well as the annoying appearance of the occasional roadie. They make things dangerous for the more casual cyclists, joggers, and walkers.

    Good luck with the Facebook page!

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    1. It was a lovely day, with many thanks to you, since I learned about the route on your site. Next time I'm there my sister suggests the mixed use trail to Leesburg, which I think you have also ridden. Parking was easy to find.

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  5. An excellent tour. Slow(ish) cycling with pictures is a nice way to go.

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    1. Slow(ish) cycling = my normal pace ... somehow fast never happens when I push pedals! Unhappily my camera (less than a year old) broke, and is now off to its maker for repairs.

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